Continue to Part II: Online Word of Mouth Marketing»
IntroductionWord of mouth marketing (WOMM) can be thought of as a grassroots campaign in which traditional forms of advertising are discarded in favor of trying to start a movement or viral effect by getting people interested merely by the power of suggestion. WOMM is a relatively new technique as far as the internet is concerned, and is predicated on creating a buzz around a certain product, service, or company, through message boards, blogs, chats, text messaging, instant messenger, and the like is employed. It can be likened to starting rumors or gossip, and is based on the idea of creating a fad, phenomenon, or craze.
CostsThe costs can be low for this form of marketing. A single person can spread messages throughout various places online where people meet and converse, or people can be hired to spread the word. Lots of companies, such as Google, have given products and services away for free to important people, to get others interested in what the 'celebrities' are using. On the other hand, if you employ an advertising agency to design and manage the campaign, the costs could be great.
TimeframeWord of mouth marketing can take a long time to become effective, if it even works at all. Creating a viral phenomenon can take months if not years to really take off. Even in the world of cyberspace, it may take some time for word to spread among users.
Action PlanGenerally, this type of plan's success hinges on somehow generating interest in the product and then waiting for and helping the process along. Getting the initial word out can be done in a number of ways, from staging a publicity stunt, to getting influential people to use or talk about the product, or just by spending time online trying to stimulate conversations about the product. Time should be spent in social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and in the blogging world to see what people are talking about and then you can decide how to target them. Depending on your product, you can also try to create interest by creating limited edition models or otherwise making the product or service appear as something exclusive, thereby creating a limited supply and raising demand.
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